More recently, we have been conscious of the benefits of being outdoors, especially in the pandemic. That daily moment of exercise for some, has been such a time of freedom, in a pandemic that has dictated who/how and where we can go.
Now as restrictions are lifting, our world has opened up and the choice of locations have increased.
When suffering from issues with our mental health, we can feel very trapped inside our heads. Being outdoors can act as a catalyst to help us gain perspective.
Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s search for Meaning” became an expert at thinking about his circumstances. Despite many years of suffering and hardship within a concentration camp, he believed that people had the capacity to look beyond themselves. To make meaning of their world, despite the circumstances they find themselves in.
At Hope Counselling, we are often working with clients helping them process their lives and untangle the memories of the past. Sometimes we use metaphor to identify what life feels like for them. Being outdoors can provide many metaphors. We see the changing seasons and recognise this parallel within ourselves. There are times and seasons for all things. For some, a timely reminder that our world is constantly changing. This can provide relief to know that perhaps the circumstances we find ourselves in, are temporary, or if permanent to see it from a different viewpoint.
Through taking ourselves outdoors, we can see, smell, and hear all the components in life that can act as a tool to soothe ourselves. The beauty of nature at its best. There is nothing quite like the sound of running water as it trickles over stones in a river, or the joy of seeing brightly coloured flowers in a garden. The sight of birds high in the sky, soaring up and up, a metaphorical symbol of rising above our world and gaining strength and momentum as we do so. Using opportunities like this helps to remind ourselves, that there are precious moments to ponder in life, as we grapple with our thoughts.
There are so many benefits of being outdoors, we just need the time to allow ourselves to be in it. The time to notice all that is going on around us, to be present to what the world offers us as a insight or tender moment for our souls.
Carolyn Rae is the Director of Hope Counselling.
HOPE counsellors offer a safe, calm, supportive environment.
They use an Integrative method of counselling which combines the approaches of Person centred, Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behaviour Therapies (CBT), and Solution Focused Therapy. This combination of approaches enables them to tailor the sessions to suit their clients’ needs at each stage of their journey.